During the four-day research expedition, data was collected from more than 30 green turtles within the One Arm Point area on the Dampier Peninsula.
|CSIRO scientist Mat Vanderklift prepares to attach a satellite tag to Iwany the green turtle while children from the Bardi Jawi community watch.
Bardi Jawi Indigenous Protected Area coordinator Daniel Oades said the satellite project had been a collaborative effort involving researchers and scientists from CSIRO and DPaW and the Bardi Jawi Rangers.
He said flipper and satellite tags were used as a way to capture various data about the marine species.
|Local schoolchildren release a green turtle after it has been weighed and measured by scientists and rangers
“The satellite tags use a saltwater switch, so that when the turtle comes to the surface for air it sends signal fixes to a satellite to record location,’’ Daniel said.
“Another satellite tag focuses on transmitting depth and dive profile data. This is important because we don’t understand what turtles are doing for the majority or their life cycle, where they are going and where they are feeding.
“Bardi Jawi is not a high density nesting area for turtles but more of a foraging ground, so tagging turtles here will provide us with information about what turtles are coming past, what they are using Bardi Jawi country for, where they are coming from, whether it’s from Indonesia or the north-west shelf genetic stock of Australia.’’
The rangers collected the turtles and brought them to the ranger vessel Almban where they were measured and weighed and had their general health recorded. Skin and blood samples were collected for genetic testing and all the turtles were fitted with flipper tags.
“The rangers used their traditional knowledge to find the best place to locate and capture the turtles. Through being involved in satellite tagging, we get to improve on our marine science and research skills and test out our ranger vessel as a working platform,’’ Daniel said.
“We had the Bardi Jawi Oorany (Women) Rangers and about a dozen school children join in. Many of the young kids hadn’t done this sort of thing before, so it was also a good opportunity to teach our young people and show them the different ways of looking after country.’’
You can track the tagged green turtles via their satellite signal web page by clicking on the map:
The $30 million Kimberley Marine Research Program is funded through major investment supported by $12 million from the Western Australian government co-invested by the WAMSI partners and supported by the Traditional Owners of the Kimberley.